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In-Flight Entertainment 9 September 6, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Up and Away.
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Finally! In-Flight Entertainment is now in sync with Random Travel Notes. This installment of movies I missed in theaters but caught on the trip home features a double dose of Abigail Breslin and Ryan Reynolds…at least once appearing in the same movie!

The Bank Job. A tad oversexed, but otherwise quite entertaining. Part of the allure is that the film is based on a heist that really happened, but I think there’s also the fact that it’s fun to see a heist so crude and doomed to failure, especially after the razzle-dazzle that was Clooney and co.’s Ocean’s Eleven and sequels. Personally, what piqued my interest were the interlocking stories incidental to the robbery. On the acting front, I’m not entirely certain Jason Statham was the right fit to headline the film, but he pulled it off well enough.

Chaos Theory. If anything, the film lives up to the title and could’ve been much better. A large part of the problem is that it’s rather difficult to buy into Ryan Reynolds’ playing the father of the bride, even if it is to setup the story-as-flashback. More’s the pity, because his portrayal of near total nervous breakdown in the main story is otherwise spot on. Overall a rather depressing film marred by a poor if unremarkable story.

Definitely Maybe. Ah, this one’s a charmer. From the get-go it’s not hard to be swept up in its pseudo-When Harry Met Sally vibe. In all I think the film shows Ryan Reynolds’ depth as an actor (for real!), and it helps that his romantic interests in the film — Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz and Isla Fisher — are also quite talented and painfully beautiful. The glue that holds the film together, however, has to be Abigail Breslin. Boy does she have talent!

Nim’s Island. The verdict? Well, the editing and effects worked exceedingly well to give the film its whimsical atmosphere. The story was a huge let down, though. To have Jodie Foster’s character travel halfway around the world in response to a cry for help, all for nothing? Come on! Of course, the acting was great. It was surprising to see how much Abigail Breslin had grown up since Little Miss Sunshine and Jodie Foster depicted her agoraphobe character admirably. When all is said and done, however, I feel that the real star was Gerard Butler, who pulls off playing two different characters exceedingly well.

The Spiderwick Chronicles. Unlike the Harry Potter films, this one shows how great a children’s fantasy film can be with child actors who can actually, you know, act. Suffice it to say I enjoyed it a lot. It surprised me that Freddie Highmore pulled a Parent Trap on audiences, and apart from a few early awkward moments his talent shines through in the end. Sarah Bolger was a surprise, too, and in general the cast was pretty high caliber, what with Mary-Louise Parker, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn and a cameo by Nick Nolte. If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that the plot first unfolds then resolves itself rather hurriedly, but the overall effect makes for a decent fantasy romp. Plus, Seth Rogen lending his voice to Hogsqueal was priceless!

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